Community Law Center

Lawyers for Neighborhoods & Nonprofits

Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on April 16, 2015.

April 20, 2015

11:00am cases

I. PROTEST OF RENEWALS.

Licensee Sherine Gray
Business Name SOS Bar & Lounge, LLC
Trading As SOS Bar & Lounge
Address 2511 E. Fayette Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Protest of renewal under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-301(a)
Hearing notes

Ms. Sherine Gray appeared on her own behalf. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth told the Commissioners that the community and Ms. Gray had reached an agreement and therefore the community members were withdrawing their protest of the renwal of the liquor license.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Patterson Park Neighborhood
Area demographics BNIA did not have demographic information for this neighborhood.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing License renewed
Vote tally None taken
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

In a 2008 case called Pridgeon v. Board of License Commissioners for Prince George’s County, 958 A.2d 289, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that, “[o]nce a protest hearing is instituted, the Board must evaluate the licensee and licensed premises in light of [statutory] requirements, and if the requirements are not met, no action by the protestant can serve to waive them. A protest filed … serves as a signal to the Board that the licensed establishment may not be meeting the standards set by [the Code]. At that point, the Board is required to look into any possible problems that would require the denial of a renewal.” Baltimore City has uniquely narrowed criteria for renewing liquor licenses, compared to the other counties, whose Boards may evaluate renewals of licenses using the same broad set of criteria used to grant them. In Baltimore City, however, the Board may only look at specific complaints as to the operation of an establishment. However, the principle remains that, if a protest is filed, according to Pridgeon, the Board must evaluate any specific complaints that it has received and decide whether or not to renew the license based on those complaints. There was no testimony taken at this hearing and there was no evidence reviewed or discussed, so it is impossible to tell whether the Board fulfilled its obligation under this case or not.

II. TRANSFERS:

Applicants Jose Hernandez & Maria Veliz
Business Name None provided in docket
Trading As Los Catrachos Restaurant
Address 5101 Eastern Avenue
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership and location of a Class “D” BWL license presently located at 40 N. Streeper Street to 5101 Eastern Avenue
Hearing notes

Mr. Stephan Fogleman, former Chairman of the Liquor Board, represented the applicants, who were present along with their consultant. He told the commissioners that the restaurant had been open for eight years. He submitted a signed Memorandum of Understanding between his clients and the Greater Greektown Neighborhood Alliance (GGNA), as well as sample menus and photographs of the interior. Mr. Hernandez is a licensee at another restaurant, and Ms. Veliz has operated the restaurant since 2007. Mr. Hernandez is both the sole transferor and one of the two transferees, with Ms. Veliz. The license has been unused for longer than the statutory time, but, because Mr. Hernandez was given bad information by a Liquor Board staff member, the Board had already given him additional time to transfer his license.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Greektown
Area demographics 52% White, 12% Black, 3% Asian; 30% Hispanic ethnicity; 30% households have children under age 18; median household income: $38,987.50.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? None provided in docket
Location of entity’s principal office None provided in docket
Attorney for licensee Mr. Stephan Fogleman
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

See the Booze News post for November 20, 2014 for a quick discussion of why the Board may have acted outside of its statutory authority under Article 2B section 10-504(d) in giving additional time to Mr. Hernandez to transfer his license.

Applicant William Grose
Business Name Glen Arm Station, LLC
Trading As Glen Arm Station Brewers Craft
Address 1236 Light Street
Type of License Class “D” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Stephan Fogleman, former Chairman of the Liquor Board, represented the applicants for the transfer. The transferors were not present at the hearing, because they moved out of town now, one in Boston, the other in Chicago. (Chairman Ward had issued an Administrative Ruling, effective January 15, 2015, that a representative from both the transferors and the transferees must be present at a transfer hearing.) Chairman Ward allowed the hearing to go forward.

The attorney presented a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association, which is the same agreement that the last set of licensees abided by. Mr. Grose has been managing the establishment, which has been continuously open.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Federal Hill
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Glen Arm, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Stephan Fogleman
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant David Hitchner
Business Name Chasers LLC
Trading As Trade Name Pending
Address 2501 Fleet Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represented Mr. Hitchner, who was present at the hearing with the transferor. Mr. Maslan informed the commissioners that his client had met with the Canton Community Association, which had submitted a letter in favor of the transfer. Mr. Hitchner had been a licensee at the New Ritz, but he withdrew from that license with the 2015 renewal. He will operate a small neighborhood bar, which will focus a bit more on food than the previous ownership.

Commissioner Moore asked whether Mr. Hitchner wasn’t the applicant whose petition in favor of the transfer had included a promise to give signatories $50 in exchange for their support. Moore stated that she remembered that case as one of the most troubling the Board had seen regarding the credibility of the licensee. Maslan replied that, in that case, Mr. Hitchner wasn’t an owner of the New Ritz; he was just a “qualifying city resident.” Moore asked whether Mr. Maslan or Mr. Hitchner could provide her with more information about the community’s receptiveness to the transferee or what he has done to be a good licensee, who is receptive to the community. Mr. Hitchner responded that he has been trying to remove his name from the New Ritz license for nine months. He met with representatives from the CCA more than once and talked to them about his plans and listened to their concerns. He’s changed his plans to address issues that the CCA brought up about loitering and cleanliness.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Menxiong Wang
Business Name Lucky 77 LLC
Trading As A-One Convenience Store
Address 1627 Wilkens Ave
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership
Hearing notes

Mr. Gary Maslan represented the applicants for the license, who were present along with the sellers of the license and business and several representatives of the Mount Clare Community Council (MCCC).

Ms. Nancy McCormick testified that she is President of the MCCC. She told the Board that the community had just learned of the transfer at their board meeting on Monday night, three days before the hearing. The docket had incorrectly listed the address as 1627 Wilkens Avenue, when the correct address was 1625 Wilkens. McCormick explained that the difference was important, because 1627 is a residence owned by a known drug dealer. McCormick said that she met with the applicants and she thought they were very nice and will do a good job, but the community has not had a chance to discuss the transfer. Ms. Anne Ames, secretary of MCCC, asked the commissioners for more time to look into the transfer further. She told the Board that the neighborhood around the store is an “intensely busy drug dealing area,” and the neighbors don’t get a lot of cooperation with the police. Ames said that the applicants had agreed to install a new front window, which will help them see what is going on in front of their building.

Chairman Ward told the women that, if they have issues with the new business, they can call the Liquor Board directly, talk to the Executive Secretary, and she will send out inspectors right away.

Commissioner Moore asked the neighbors whether they had agreed to the transfer because of the promise to replace the window. They replied that it was, and that the community was relying on the applicants to follow through.

Ms. Maria Moses, another neighbor, then testified that she has issues with the patrons from the store under the current ownership. Patrons urinate in her backyard. The store has slot machines inside, and people sit and play the machines for five or six hours, drinking alcohol, but there is no bathroom in the store, so they go outside and urinate in the alley or in neighbors’ yards.

Mr. Charles Kim, one of the sellers and a current licensee, testified, in response to Ms. Moses, that customers do play the slot machines, but he was unaware of any issues with public urination. He doesn’t follow his customers outside. He runs a convenience store, not a bar, so he’s not required to have a public restroom. Mr. Kim and Ms. Moses disagreed about whether the owners illegally pay customers from the gaming machines. Moses said that the new owners are not going to be able to handle the drug activity around the store. She also expressed concerns about scraping lead paint during renovations.

Chairman Ward asked when the work on the property could begin. Maslan replied that his clients would have to get permits first, but they may be able to start by the end of June. Ward asked what his clients would do about the public urination. Mr. Kim reiterated that he is not the patrons’ parent and he can’t control what they do when they leave. Ward disagreed: he said that the old and new licensees would have to solve the problem. The right to do business and sell alcohol is a privilege, and if the privilege has a negative impact on the neighborhood, the privilege evaporates. Either the urination stops or the business stops.

Mr. Maslan, at that point, became indignant and said that his clients were scared enough already. They are spending $100,000 to buy the business and they’re making an investment in the neighborhood. They’ll do the best they can and call the police when necessary.

Commissioner Moore said that it sounds to her like there needs to be a public restroom available if people are going to sit inside, drinking and playing the machines for a few hours. It is inevitable that people will need to use the bathroom. Licensees are responsible for the conduct of their patrons, even after they leave the establishment, and urinating on people’s property is offensive and disgusting. If the community members present are telling the truth of what the neighborhood is, and the prospective new owners can’t handle it, they need to back out of the sale. Moore added that the commissioners have seen what happens when business owners come to a challenging area, and they can’t handle it. Finding out issues should be part of the buyers’ due diligence.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood New Southwest/Mount Clare
Area demographics 17% White, 76% Black, 1% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 36% households have children under age 18; median household income: $28,513.80; 30% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? No; no. SDAT does not have an entry for Lucky 77 LLC.
Location of entity’s principal office N/A – doesn’t exist
Attorney for licensee Mr. Gary Maslan
# in support 4
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 4
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally 2-1 (Moore dissenting)
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward voted to approve the transfer, on the condition that the front window is designed and installed. Commissioner Jones also voted to approve, because he had not heard anything negative about the character of the buyers. He warned the applicants that the bad element of the neighborhood could take over, if they get complacent, and then their privilege to sell alcohol may be taken away. Commissioner Moore voted against the transfer: she said that there hadn’t been a full enough fleshing out of the character and capacity of the buyers.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 p.m. cases

III. PROTEST OF RENEWALS, continued.

Chairman Ward began the 1:00pm docket by reading aloud his Administrative Order #4, which can be found at the link.

Article 2B section 15-205(e) states that all boards of liquor license commissioners may make contracts, rules and regulations which they may deem necessary or desirable to carry out the powers conferred upon them. It is possible that Commissioners Moore and Jones were involved in the promulgation of these regulations in Administrative Order #4, but it seems more likely that the Chairman created and disseminated them on his own, since he is the only signatory and he refers to them as “my order.” The statute gives authority to the board, not to the Chairman of the board.

Licensees George Divel, William Matricinni & Donna Matricinni
Business Name Weidog, Inc.
Trading As Playbook Bar & Grill
Address 6700 German Hill Road
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Protest of renewal under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-301(a)
Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas represented the licensees, one of whom, Mr. William Matricinni, was present.

The hearing began with the community’s complaints. First, Edie Schuman, board member of the Graceland Park Improvement Association, testified that she has received many complaints over the past year regarding the operations fo the bar. The Board has found the licensee guilty of several violations over the past license year, including allowing people to take alcohol out of the building, loud noise and disruptive behavior, overserving and underage drinking. Schuman submitted the call log for 911 calls over the past year; Prevas objected, because calls for service are not, by themselves, evidence of wrongdoing from the licensee. Ms. Schuman lives within a quarter mile of the bar, but she has not personally experienced any of the incidents; she has received complaints from residents, however, in her capacity as secretary of the community association. Schuman testified that the owners of the bar were allowing hookah to be consumed inside, which is a violation of city law. She also did not believe that the bar had stopped serving alcohol during its license suspension, since large crowds were still going there, late at night.

Ms. Brittany Lacey, a nearby resident, testified that patrons from the bar often disturb the peace, especially in the summer months. In August 2014, a male patron urinated on the bar of her car; she testified that patrons often urinate in public. In the fall of 2014, patrons were often parking in ways that blocked neighbors’ driveways. Sometimes the patrons are rude to the neighbors when they ask them to stop urinating or to park elsewhere. She reiterated that the bar causes too much noise and neighborhood disturbance. The bar is especially noisy on the weekends, between 11pm and 2am. Chairman Ward asked Lacey whether she had complained to the owners, and Lacey said that she had not, because they had never done anything about community complaints before. Ward asked Lacey what she was asking the Board to do, and she replied that the owners should have more security to watch their customers’ drinking. On cross-examination, Prevas asked whether she had called the police about the incidents that she observed; she responded that she calls sometimes, but the officers often come too late, especially for something like public urination. She testified that she used to hear loud music coming from the bar, but she hasn’t heard the loud music so much lately.

Mr. Jason Moxley, Ms. Lacey’s fiance, testified to the same issues. He’s seen men and women urinating outside on private property. They haven’t had as many issues this year, but last year, during the summer, the bar was noisy.

Baltimore Police Lieutenant William Colburn testified to incidents that had been recorded in police reports since the bar was reopened. (1) On December 27, 2014, at 11:25pm, Lieutenant Colburn entered the bar and observed about twenty people dancing in pairs, which was in violation of their liquor license. (2) On January 26, 2015, at 2:40am, an officer responded to a report of an assault; the assaulted person told police that the security guard had punched him, but he only had one small bruise on his elbow. (3) on February 23, 2015, at 2:25am, an officer responded to a call. Mr. Ricky Brown was working at Playbook as an unlicensed security guard, and there were no employee records for Mr. Brown. A fight had broken out inside the bar, and Mr. Brown had been punched in the head.

Mr. Prevas then put on his case. He objected to the petition, because it did not specifically exclude liquor licensees. Chairman Ward told Prevas that the burden would be on him to prove that the petition is defective in some way.

Prevas submitted a Liquor Board inspection report from February 28, 2015, which showed that the licensees had added more tables and TVs, to make the establishment more of a sports bar and to remove the open area that people were using for dancing.

Mr. William Matricinni testified that he has owned the bar since 2006. At one point, the bar was closed for a long time because of Matricinni’s heart surgery; he received two hardship extensions and reopened in 2011. He testified that his clientele is mainly Latino. He said that the bar did not sell alcohl during its license suspension. There are ten to fifteen employees on any given night and security on the weekends. Employees monitor the area, including the residential blocks nearby; they clean up any bottles left behind. The licenseee testified that he has tried to address community complaints, including loud patrons and parking.

Commissioners Moore and Jones expressed concerns that neither Mr. Matricinni nor his fellow licensees are present at the bar very often. The managers are the ones who run the establishment, though he couldn’t remember the name of one of them. Moore warned Matricinni that warm weather is coming and it is his responsibility to ensure that people aren’t urinating in public or getting into fights. Ward agreed, but he said that any promises about the future do not have anything to do with whether the license should be renewed.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Graceland Park
Area demographics 44% White, 25% Black, 2% 2 or more races; 20% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,864.31; 22% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 1, with ~15 in audience who did not testify
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 3
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing License renewed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said that, as he listened to the testimony, that there seemed to have been improvement since the establishment’s license was suspended. If any of the issues resurface in the summertime, the Board should have more than sufficient evidence to suspend the license again. Jones agreed; he said that the community members seemed to be saying that there had been improvement. Moore concurred; she was concerned that the licensees were absent and not aware of what was happening. She said that the weather had helped the licensees more than an improvement in business practices, and she hopes that the licensees will prove her wrong.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Luis George
Business Name Two Louey’s Cantina II, LLC
Trading As Punto G Restaurant & Lounge
Address 123 N. Clinton Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Protest of renewal under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-301(a)
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski, for his clients, made two preliminary objections regarding the petition for the protest of renewal. First, he echoed Mr. Prevas’s previous objection in the prior case: he told the commissioners that the statute says that the petitioners must say that they are not license holders or applicants for a license. Ward disagreed, saying that Kodenski could disqualify individual petitioners for being license holders, if any are. Ward said to Kodenski, “you ad lib as to what you’re saying the code says.” Kodenski’s second objection was that the petition had a typographical error, because it stated that the license year begins April 1, but it really begins May 1. Both objections were overruled.

Mr. Matt Gonter, Housing Code committee chair for Patterson Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA), testified first that the license had been suspended for overserving, illegal live entertainment and overcrowding. Mr. George continued to hold live entertainment events, advertised on Facebook, after he reopened. The establishment is advertised as a nightclub, though they do not have permission to have live entertainment. They also advertise hookah. Gonter submitted an outstanding violation notice from Baltimore Housing that the building does not have a valid use and occupancy permit and has not had one since the date of the notice, March 14, 2013.

Mr. John Wesby testified that he lives nearby in a home he purchased in 2007. When he bought his home, the area was “sketchy” and acted as an open air drug market. The area has improved significantly since then, but the progress is fragile. He testified that 123 N. Clinton Street is a very large property, with a large capacity. Mr. George had promised to deliver an upscale lounge where community members could enjoy drink or food, but he has created a nightclub that packs in as many people as possible. There are DJs and live bands, which they are not allowed to have. Large numbers of people leave when the club closes, and people urinate and are loud as they walk to their cars. He has seen people who are extremely intoxicated leave the club, people almost falling down as they cross the street.

Mr. Kodenski objected to the admission of letters from community members, because they are hearsay evidence. Ward denied his objection, stating that letters are proper in an informal administrative hearing.

Ms. Alicia Porter, a nearby neighbor, also asked the Board to deny the renewal of the license. She lives one block away and can see patrons get out of their cars and urinate on the street. She feels as though she lives in a nightclub parking lot in the summer time. Cars park illegally on her block. Patrons are overserved to the point that they can’t stand. She feels embarrassed and doesn’t invite people to come over to her house to visit her. When the bar was closed, she noticed the difference immediately. She didn’t have to clean up the block or power-wash her house like she usually does.

Mr. Andrew Brian corroborated his neighbors’ testimony about bottles left outside, intact and sometimes smashed on the ground and public urination. Patrons park in his handicapped parking spot in front of his house, so he has to call the police and wait for them to come before he can park his car.

Ms. Keisha Miller agreed with the other neighbors. She sees urination, vomiting, and fights. The music is too loud, and her son can’t fall asleep. She often sees the licensees’ employees put out trash on days other than trash and recycling pickup days. Another neighbor, who has lived in the area for 16 years, agreed with all of the testimony; she noticed a difference when the bar was closed.

Ms. Rachel Timmins, from the Baltimore Highlands Neighborhood Assocication, testified in support of PPNA and her neighbors. The boundaries of her community are only one block east of the bar, and she walks her dog by the building often. She tries to be careful of the broken glass around the bar, because she’s concerned about her dog’s safety. She notices lots of broken bottles and has witnessed men urinating in the alley behind the bar. On a few occasions, she’s heard loud music, including just last weekend.

Mr. David Leibensperger, former President of PPNA, testified that, as current chair of the Safety Committee, this bar is the one that he got the most complaints about from his neighbors, including, fighting, loud noise, throwing glass bottles, public urination and overserving. He has personally called 911 during one fight that he witnessed. Patrons often park illegally in front of privately owned garages.

Lieutenant William Colburn testified about two incidents in January 2015 at the bar. (1) On January 16, 2015, at 11:00pm, Lieutenant Colburn was on routine patrol when he saw three males outside of Punto G, one of whom was sniffing white powder and holding a clear plastic baggie with white powder. Inside a sandwich bag were 17 smaller bags of suspected cocaine. The police lab analyzed the powder and found it to be cocaine. The criminal case is pending in the Circuit Court. The individual who was arrested admitted that he had been drinking inside the bar. Lieutenant Colburn said that he had discussed cocaine use with Mr. George on other occasions, because there was clear evidence of drug use inside the bathrooms of the bar. (2) On January 17, 2015, he entered the bar at around 11:25pm with a Liquor Board inspector. Inside the vestibule, the security guard began jumping up to reach a switch, but he wasn’t very tall and couldn’t reach it. The guard said, “oh well, I guess it’s too late now.” Lieutenant Colburn and the inspector saw 8 to 10 people dancing inside. Colburn came back and flipped the switch, which turned on a bright white light over the DJ booth. Colburn testified that it was obvious to him that the switch had been installed in order to circumvent the law against live entertainment.

Mr. Kodenski then put on his witnesses. Mr. Robert Yox, who lives nearby, said that he has no problems with the bar. One time, someone might have left a beer bottle, but it’s just like a normal bar. He does hear the music sometimes, but it doesn’t bother him. Jessica Stinson testified to the same thing: she has no complaints about the bar and she doesn’t hear the music.

Mr. Luis George testified that he had made changes after his license was suspended. He doesn’t use the rooftop area anymore for patrons. He recycles and follows the direction of the police. Kodenski submitted a petition in favor of the establishment, from neighbors who live close by. There is another bar across the street, La Isla, which has a similar operation. George said that there are a few ladies who come to the bar and want to dance, but he asks them not to. He hasn’t received parking complaints from community members. And he is trying to create a dance club in Baltimore County for people who want to dance. He has spent thousands updating his bathrooms; he can fit 12-13 people in the men’s bathroom. He said that the noise and other issues can be attributed to private parties, because the area is active. He said that his wife does the Facebook advertisements that have to do with dancing, because there is a lot of competition among the Latino bars.

Commissioner Moore noted that there are a number of pages of the petition where everything was written in the same handwriting. George responded that the sheets were a mess when he received them from the person gathering the signatures, so they were rewritten and he didn’t have the originals.

In closing, Mr. Gonter said that Mr. George began advertising live entertainment the weekend after they were allowed to reopen, which shows contempt for the Board. Kodenski closed by saying that the neighbors who are complaining have never been inside the bar, while others who live close by have no complaints. He added that “this city is for all people, not just for a certain group of people. They’ve done everything they could possibly do. If things were that bad, you’d have plenty of things in your file.” Kodenski said that the individuals who are drinking too much should be held accountable for what they do, and Mr. George should not be responsible for it. He closed by saying that Mr. George “deserves the right to be in business, he has 10 employees, I rest my case.” Commissioner Moore responded, “that was truly a ball of confusion.”

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Patterson Park Neighborhood
Area demographics BNIA did not have demographic information for this neighborhood.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support ~15
Attorney for community None
# of protestants ~10
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing License not renewed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward voted to deny the renewal. He said that it was clear that the bar owner has not changed his ways whatsoever, since he is advertising the same live entertainment. His behavior is so blatant as to be in defiance of the Board, which Ward found “almost unbelievable.” He found the testimony of the neighbors to be convincing about the improved conditions in the neighborhood when the license was suspended. Commissioner Jones agreed; he said that Mr. George had not respected his privilege to serve alcohol. Moore concurred. She said that the impact on the licensee is great, but the impact on the neighborhood has been huge. The test, for her, is, is the continuation of this license going to negatively impact the community. The live entertainment restriction has been repeatedly violated, even the first weekend that the bar was reopened.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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